Sunday June 4th was the inaugural Stokes Bay junior parkrun. After a successful test event two weeks previous we were excited to see what the morning would bring. All 6 RD’s had posted about it on Facebook so we knew we’d get a good turnout. What we didn’t expect was a HUGE turnout!
Myself, Paul (the ED) and Maggie got their early to make sure we had anything and had everything in place ready for the arrival of the marshals. A lot of our marshals have come over to us from what is now known as our sister parkrun Lee-on-the-Solent. I’m amazed so many people are willing to give up their time on a Saturday, but to know so many people are willing to give up their on a Saturday and Sunday just shows the power of parkrun.
As we were setting up the Breakfast Club from Absolute Running ran by. A lot of these runners attend Lee parkrun too so we hollered and whooped as they went by. People started arriving from around 8.15, both runners and marshals. Paul jumped in to action and gave the marshals their equipment, lanyards and hi-vis vests. I was timekeeping, one of my favourite roles, so I trained the other timekeeper on how the stopwatch works.
Then it was a case of waiting. As we waited more people arrived, and then even more. There were plenty of children but also plenty of adults. Some adults were dressed to run with their children, others wrapped up against the bracing wind. There weren’t just parents either, there were grandparents, aunts and uncles. The prom was soon full and Paul had to ask people to gather on the grassy area to keep the prom clear!
The brief and warm up (all junior events have to have a warm up) were due to start at 8.50am. 8.50 arrived but people were still arriving in their droves. There were people arriving as far as the eye could see. Then Jade (one of our RD’s) received a call saying the car park was full! Bearing in mind the car park is a pretty big one! The briefing was given as late as we possibly could, along with the warm up. Then the last thing that needed saying was “Ready, Steady, Go!” and they were off.
We all stood a bit gobsmacked as the crowd passed us. There were lots of runners. We quickly made our way down from the start line to the finish line where we cheered all the runners on. The first runner finished the course in a rather speedy 8:05, 1 second faster than the test event! This is now set as our course record. Soon enough all the runners had returned home and we had a moment to stop and take it all in. 184 runners had completed the course. 184! Wow! We’ve created a monster.
As we chatted to people afterwards we had nothing but praise and positive comments, this then continued through the day on the Facebook and Twitter accounts. We were absolutely buzzing. I still am a little if I’m honest! The huge turnout just goes to show how much this little town needed a junior parkrun and I’m pleased we were able to bring it. We’re helping the future generation start life of a fit and healthy path. Long may it continue!